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The Buzz on Mount Kisco Elementary School’s Pollinator Pop-Up

students look at the camera with magnifying glasses

Entering Mount Kisco Elementary School’s garden feels like stepping into a fairy tale. You walk down a stone staircase and are suddenly in what feels like a secret garden surrounded by raised plant beds, lush vegetation and an army of little gardeners. Earlier this week, there was also a big yellow tent that covered an interactive Pollinator Pop-Up exhibit courtesy of Westchester Land Trust.

“We’re having a party to celebrate bumblebees and all the pollinators that work so hard for us,” Jody Hughes, manager of the Pollinator Pop-Up program, told a group of excited second graders.

Students moved through three stations as they learned about pollinators and enjoyed exploring the garden in the sunshine.

The first station involved an interactive story about bees that was read in both English and Spanish. Each student put a little bumblebee puppet on their finger to help bring the story to life. Each time a sentence ended, they called out “buzz, buzz!” and flew their puppets through the air. When the story was over, they had time to fly their bees through the garden and pretend to pollinate flowers while they explored.

The next station was under the yellow tent. Hughes talked to students about pollinators and explained related vocabulary words to them.

“What is a pollinator?” he asked one group.

“They get nectar and pollen!” a student called out.

Hughes then told the students that nectar was like soda for bumblebees. They go looking for it in flowers and pick up pollen in the process. Then, when they go to the next flower, a little bit of that pollen falls off. This process helps plants grow fruits and vegetables, like the ones found in MKES’s garden.

After explaining all of this to the students, Hughes gave them props to act out the process themselves. Some students got big yellow sunflowers while others got bumblebee and butterfly puppets and zipped around “pollinating” each of their flower friends. When they were done, they explored a table with artifacts including a squirrel pelt, snakeskin and interesting rocks. They not only got to inspect the artifacts under magnifying glasses and a microscope, but they could touch and feel them as well.

The last station included a bumblebee read-aloud. Students listened attentively to The Bumblebee Queen, asking questions as they followed the life cycle of a queen bee. There were other pollinator books spread across the table for students to leaf through before they moved over to a table full of markers and paper where they could draw their own bumblebees.

Students left the pop-up energized and more knowledgeable about their garden and the plants and insects that make it their home.

students hold up info cards in English and Spanish